Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk Southern’

Trains, Planes and an Automobile

July 26, 2014
NS 412 is about to rumble past the Olmsted Falls depot with its consist of high top hopper cars.

NS 412 is about to rumble past the Olmsted Falls depot with its consist of high top hopper cars.

Olmsted Falls is one of those railfanning spots that is well known by many locals, but which tends to be overshadowed by the better known and “patronized”  Berea a few minutes away.

The advantage of going to Berea is that you get CSX traffic as well as the Norfolk Southern’s Chicago Line. But I like Olmsted Falls because there tends to be fewer people there and you can easily get on both sides of the tracks to take advantage of whatever lighting conditions may exist.

On a recent Sunday, I went to the Falls to catch a very late running Amtrak No. 49. While I got “bonus coverage” when NS 8100 (the Nickel Plate Road heritage locomotive) led the 20W past. I covered both of those trains in earlier coverage.

This post is devoted to a few other trains that I captured while waiting for Amtrak No. 49.

I begin with three images of an eastbound coal train. Although not as flashy or “glamorous” as a passenger train or a train led by an H unit, I thought this train reflects the heritage of the Norfolk & Western of hauling coal from the West Virginia mountains.

I converted these photos to black and white because the flat lighting conditions resulted in muted colors. But I also did it because, well, certain trains just seem to call for being in a black and white world. A coal train is one of them.

As I watched car after car roll past with the term “high top” on them, I kept thinking about high top sneakers, which were popular in my younger days. If I recall, those were black and white. If memory serves me correctly, this train carried symbol 412.

There always seems to be an outlier in every group and so it was with this train.There was one “low top” hopper car in the consist.

A while after the passage of the 412 came another coal train, this one carrying symbol 417. The Toledo East dispatcher told this train to pace itself going west because it would soon come to a halt behind a 15N that was stopped ahead.

NS was single tracking for 18 miles west of CP 218 and the 417 would spend several hours waiting for a route and be passed by at least one train, which was carrying a load of empty crude oil tankers.

Another feature of Olmsted Falls is that it lies beneath the final approach path of runways 6R and 6L at nearby Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

When air traffic is landing on those runways, as it was on Sunday, you get nice close-up views of the planes. Air traffic in and out of Cleveland isn’t what it used to be following the closing this year of the United Airlines hub that had been built by Continental Airlines. United still, though, operates the most daily flights from CLE.

I was standing by my car between trains and planes when I looked over and saw two small convertibles following each other northbound on Brookside Drive.

I wasn’t in a good position to photograph both of them with the zoom lens I had on my camera at the time. The best I could do was this going away shot of the second of the two. I don’t know what make or model this is, but I’m sure this guy enjoyed toolin’ around town in his toy.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

There is always an outlier in every group. Here is the only "low top" hopper in the bunch.

There is always an outlier in every group. Here is the only “low top” hopper in the bunch.

One "low top" in the consist did not spoil the uniform appearance of this coal hoppers train.

One “low top” in the consist did not spoil the uniform appearance of this coal hoppers train.

NS 417 is taking it easy going west. Note the BNSF "Grinstein" as the trailing unit.

NS 417 is taking it easy going west. Note the BNSF “Grinstein” as the trailing unit.

The motive power lash up, er, I mean motive power CON-sist, of this eastbound stack train featured an array of colors and ownerships.

The motive power lash up, er, I mean motive power CON-sist, of this eastbound stack train featured an array of colors and ownerships.

I've always enjoyed photographing the uniform profile of unit trains. The 65R rolls westward although not for long. This train would later be routed around the 417.

I’ve always enjoyed photographing the uniform profile of unit trains. The 65R rolls westward although not for long. This train would later be routed around the 417.

Delta 1474 from Atlanta has MD88 equipment.

Delta 1474 from Atlanta has MD88 equipment.

United 1092 from Fort Myers, Fla., arrives with a 737-900.

United 1092 from Fort Myers, Fla., arrives with a 737-900.

I think you can figure out which airline this is. It is flight 520 from Denver and features an Airbus 319. Frontier has been picking up some of the markets abandoned by United earlier this year.

I think you can figure out which airline this is. It is flight 520 from Denver and features an Airbus 319. Frontier has been picking up some of the markets abandoned by United earlier this year.

Enjoying a Sunday drive.

Enjoying a Sunday drive.

A C&NW Locomotive Passes Through Cleveland

July 23, 2014

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On Tuesday evening we had rare visitor passed through downtown Cleveland on the former Nickle Plate around 7:30 p.m, one of the two original Chicago & North Western engines. I’ve been told that this was the first time that this engine has been east of Chicago.  Also, Union Pacific has a standing order not to mess up the paint job.

Article and Photograph by Alex Bruchac

Weekend Visit to North East: Part 1

July 22, 2014
Remington Rosd crossing as a westbound CSX train approaches under a full moon on July 10, 2014.

Remington Road crossing as a westbound CSX train approaches under a full moon on July 10, 2014.

I visited my son Gary and his wife Andrea in the town of North East, Pa., over the weekend of July 11-13. On Friday and parts of Saturday and Sunday, I was trackside to photograph the railroad scene in the area. CSX now operates the former New York Central lines and Norfolk Southern now operates the former Nickel Plate Road.

On Friday, I travelled west on U.S. Route 20 from the Red Carpet Inn where I stayed in Wesleyville. I drove north on Wesley Avenue to trackside at McCormick Construction Co’s stone plant.

There I found two brand new GE locomotives on a siding next to the NS (NKP) line waiting for pickup and delivery to UP.

I tried to photograph the CSX (NYC) line but the vegetation between the two railroads was too dense for good photos. It was a shame, too, because there was a four track signal bridge in view. It reminded me of the Central’s four-track mainline of years past.

I was about to leave, when I noticed a high green signal to the west on the Nickel Plate. Since a westbound train was lined in, I waited to get a photo of it passing the new GEs. The NS auto rack train came by at 3:25 p.m.

After that, I left to visit the Lake Shore Railroad Museum in North East, but that’s another story.

After my museum visit, I left for Gary’s place, a few miles east of the town center. We took off for supper at Papa’s in Ripley, N.Y.

I stopped several times during the weekend at Remington Road and Loomis Street east of North East where both CSX and NS railroads cross at grade.

Article and Photographs by Richard Jacobs

New GE locomotives 8187 and 8186 are on the Wesleyville, PA siding waiting for delivery to Union Pacific.

New GE locomotives 8187 and 8186 are on the Wesleyville, PA siding waiting for delivery to Union Pacific.

Grab shot! CP stack train is westbound on CSX at Wesleyville, Pa., Foreground track is the former Nickel Plate mainline, now NS.

Grab shot! CP stack train is westbound on CSX at Wesleyville, Pa., Foreground track is the former Nickel Plate mainline, now NS.

CSX eastbound stack train passes under the former NYC four-track signal bridge in Wesleyville, Pa.

CSX eastbound stack train passes under the former NYC four-track signal bridge in Wesleyville, Pa.

CSX westbound freight on the former NYC at Wesleyville.

CSX westbound freight on the former NYC at Wesleyville.

NS 2502 leads a westbound auto rack train past brand new GE locomotives on the Nickel Plate in Wesleyville, Pa.

NS 2502 leads a westbound auto rack train past brand new GE locomotives on the Nickel Plate in Wesleyville, Pa.

Norfolk Southern Buys 3 Susie Q SD70Ms

July 18, 2014

The latest used locomotives to join the Norfolk Southern motive power fleet are three former New York, Susquehanna & Western SD70Ms.

Built in 1995, the locomotives wear the Susie Q’s yellow-and-black paint livery. The locomotives also have seen service as lease units to CSX and on short line Indiana & Ohio.

Road numbers for the SD70Ms on NS will be 2797-2799, right below the recently acquired SD75Ms.

NS will perform renumbering and minor repairs to the SD70s at its shops in Altoona, Pa. NS does not expect to repaint the three units before placing them in service.

PUCO Approves 11 Grade Crossing Projects

July 12, 2014

Eleven grade crossing projects in seven counties won approval this week by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Norfolk Southern will install mast-mounted flashing lights and roadway gates at six crossings in Lockland, Rice Township, Sandusky and Sharonville.

CSX will install mast-mounted flashing lights and gates at two crossings in Jackson Township and Trenton; and the Wheeling & Lake Erie will install mast-mounted flashing lights and gates at two crossings in Brimfield Township.

All work must be completed by April 9, 2015, except upgrades to the CSX crossing at Morganthaler Road in Trenton, which must be finished by January 9, 2016. All of the projects are being funded with federal funds.

PUCO also approved a petition filed by NS to close the Stores Road/Township Road 159 crossing in Brown Township. The crossing will be closed within 30 days.

PUCO also will conduct two public hearings in Gallon on July 15 to review CSX’s petition to close the County Road 8 crossing in Washington Township.

 

NS Acquires 16 ex-BNSF Locomotives

July 12, 2014

Norfolk Southern has acquired 16 used locomotives, including nine SD60Ms and seven SD75Ms.

All of the locomotives were previously used by BNSF but had been returned to the lessor when the leases expired.

The SD75Ms are former Santa Fe locomotives and represent a new locomotive model for NS. These units were built in 1994 and featured higher horsepower (4,300) than the 4,000 hp SD70Ms in the EMD catalogue at the time.

The SD60Ms were purchased new by Burlington Northern in 1989 and feature the distinctive three-piece windshield that was standard on early SD60Ms.

NS plans to renumber the SD60Ms to Nos. 6807-6815 while the SD75Ms will receive Nos. 2800-2806.

Allen Rider, the NS manager of locomotive engineering said all 16 locomotives will be sent to Altoona for repairs and minor modifications. The units will not be repainted prior to entering service although the SD60Ms will eventually be placed in NS’s SD60E rebuild program. That rebuilding will give the distinctive looking locomotive cabs of the units a limited life in the NS motive power fleet.

Few Trains, But Lots of Variety

July 9, 2014
The original Norfolk Southern heritage unit leads the 20W east through Oak Harbor, Ohio. Good things seem to happen when I chase the Nickel Plate Road No. 765.

The original Norfolk Southern heritage unit leads the 20W east through Oak Harbor, Ohio. Good things seem to happen when I chase the Nickel Plate Road No. 765.

This past Sunday was one of those days where I didn’t see a lot of trains, but what I did see presented quite a variety of subject matter.

I had traveled to Michigan to photograph the Nickel Plate Road No. 765. We waited for it at Vienna Road, located a few miles south of Monroe, Mich. Aside from the Norfolk Southern line between Toledo and Detroit, this location also features a Canadian National route.

NS sent one southbound past our location while we were waiting and a CN coal train came past after the 765 had blasted through and we were about ready to leave.

Our next objective would be the NS train 20W, which had the original Norfolk Southern heritage locomotive on the point. No. 8114 was the first NS H unit that I ever photographed and I’ve seen it just once since then. Interestingly, that was on the same day that I had chased the 765 on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad last September.

There is something about seeing the 765 and then seeing NS heritage units. More than a year ago, I was waiting in Bellevue for the 765 to show up when the Southern heritage unit pulled a train through town. In early May of this year, I saw the Wabash heritage unit on a train after getting the 765 earlier in the day.

We elected to try to get the 8114 in Oak Harbor. After a late lunch at McDonalds and then ice cream from a shop next door, we went trackside, seeing a headlight of an approaching eastbound in the distance.

It wasn’t the 20W, but it did have a BNSF warbonnet as the second unit.

The wait for the 8114 was not all that long. I heard the 20W call a signal and then saw its headlight to the west. After the 20W passed, we began making our way back to Cleveland. We caught up with and passed the 20W on Ohio Route 2. We decided to catch it one more time.

We chose the boat launch in Vermilion. The NS tracks cross the Vermilion River here to the north. The lighting wasn’t ideal. The sun had not yet crossed the tracks but that turned out to be a moot point because we got cloud skunked.

A couple of other railfans showed up just after we arrived and they mentioned that a westbound Operation Lifesaver special was coming, having just cleared Berea.

A westbound stack train with a blue CN unit and a Union Pacific flags unit was the first train to pass by. The 20W was next up and then the OLS train. That made two passengers trains in one day and neither of them carried a hint of Amtrak.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The first train of the day arrived 45 minutes before the steam train.

The first train of the day arrived 45 minutes before the steam train.

We were mildly disappointed that this southbound coal train had BNSF rather than Canadian National motive power. It was, after all, on CN tracks.

We were mildly disappointed that this southbound coal train had BNSF rather than Canadian National motive power. It was, after all, on CN tracks.

The southbound coal train took the siding at Vienna.

The southbound coal train took the siding at Vienna.

An eastbound manifest wheels its way into Oak Harbor.

An eastbound manifest wheels its way into Oak Harbor.

The old New York Central style signals at Oak Harbor are about to fall.

The old New York Central style signals at Oak Harbor are about to fall.

At Vermilion, this westbound stack train had a surprise site. The motive power consist included a blue CN unit . . .

At Vermilion, this westbound stack train had a surprise site. The motive power consist included a blue CN unit . . .

 . . . and a Union Pacific locomotive.

. . . and a Union Pacific locomotive.

Catching up with NS 8114 in Vermilion. Alas, the clouds had blocked the sun.

Catching up with NS 8114 in Vermilion. Alas, the clouds had blocked the sun.

Catching the ferry move of the NS Operation Lifesaver train just minutes after getting a heritage locomotive was stroke of good fortune.

Catching the ferry move of the NS Operation Lifesaver train just minutes after getting a heritage locomotive was stroke of good fortune.

MichSunday11

MichSunday12

 

 

Pennsylvania Won’t Release Crude Oil Information

July 9, 2014

Pennsylvania has joined the list of states that are refusing to make public information that state officials receive from freight railroads pertaining to crude oil shipments through that state.

The U.S. Department of Transportation this past May issued an emergency order requiring railroads to report to state emergency management officials the number of trains carrying oil from the Bakken Shale formation in the Midwest and the routes of the shipments.

The information that railroads must provide include an estimate of the number of trains passing through each county per week that carry 1 million gallons or more in Bakken crude and the routes used.

When the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sought copies of that information The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency refused to hand it over, saying that the documents are “confidential and proprietary.”

Kevin Thompson, associate administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, said recently that the railroad reports were not sensitive information that needed to be withheld for security reasons.

Citing public records laws, six states — Washington, North Dakota, California, Montana, Florida and Virginia — have made the reports public. However, Virginia, along with Louisiana, and most recently, the state of Oklahoma, have signed confidentiality agreements with railroads to not disclose crude oil route and volume information to the public.

CSX and Norfolk Southern send crude oil shipments through Pittsburgh on a regular basis.

CSX declined to give the Post-Gazette details about how much crude oil it ships through Pittsburgh, saying specific information about shipments of regulated materials is given only to emergency response agencies who request it. Norfolk Southern has said it does not comment about the routing of specific commodities.

Allegheny County officials have confirmed that crude oil is on a list of chemicals that railroads carry through Pittsburgh but declined to elaborate.

En Route to Africa Via Norfolk Southern

July 8, 2014

ns6908motor02

ns6908motor03

CLN1830

CLN1820

CLN1821rock01

CLN1821rock02

Norfolk Southern train 058 passed by my workplace of Motor Yard on Monday. A long file train, it had stopped in Cleveland to pick up 10 CLN units out of GE destined for Mozambique via Lambert’s Point in Norfolk, Va.

They are Cape gauge BB40-9WM for CLN, a Vale subsidiary in Mozambique (East Africa). Vale intends to use them in fours, pulling 10,000 ton plus coal trains from Moatize on the Zambezi River, to the port of Nacala on the Indian Ocean. It made for an interesting train to say the least. The first three are passing by my work while the other three were captured at Rockport yard on Sunday.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

Railfanning in Deshler, Leipsic and Hamler

July 5, 2014
Grab shot! An eastbound NS stack train with BNSF power speeds through Leipsic.

Grab shot! An eastbound NS stack train with BNSF power speeds through Leipsic.

Sunday morning of June 22 broke quite cloudy in Findlay where I spent the night at a Motel 6. After breakfast, I was off for Leipsic on Route 613. Leipsic is 12.4 miles south of Deshler and home to the crossing of the CSX (Baltimore & Ohio) Toledo line and the Norfolk Southern (Nickel Plate Road line. There is a tower at the crossing, but it is no longer used. It was a NKP tower called XN; the B&O called it RO.

I parked my Trail Blazer in the southwest quadrant of the crossing behind a funeral home on East Broadway Street.

No sooner had I arrived at 11:15 a.m. when I was greeted by a NS eastbound stack train led by BNSF power. I grabbed a quick shot out the window of the Trail Blazer.

Activity on the CSX line soon followed. An eastbound (south) CSX auto rack train crossed over the NS diamonds at 11:36 a.m.

An eastbound NS freight followed the CSX train at 11:57 a.m. A track maintainer was cleared by the CSX dispatcher to head north to Deshler in his hi-railer.

I then left to check out the NS/Indiana & Ohio crossing at West Leipsic. An eastbound NS hopper train came by while I was enroute.

I grabbed a mid-train shot at the crossing from West Sugar Street. I looked for any IORY power at nearby industries, but found none.

I returned to the CSX/NS crossing and caught a westbound train of oil empties on NS behind CSX power at 1:06 p.m. After that train I headed north on Route 65 to Deshler to join the Akron Railroad Club’s “longest day” activities.

Later, returning from lunch at the local Subway in Deshler, I caught a CSX freight swinging off the Toledo line toward Hamler on the Garrett subdivision.

I highballed for Hamler. The sun was now out bright and I wanted to catch that train passing the Gerald Grain Center.

As I waited to photograph the oncoming CSX train, I heard horns to the north. Maybe I would be lucky and catch an Indiana & Ohio (former DT&I) train at the Hamler crossing. I got a nice shot of the CSX westbound behind single unit 9 from the North Marion Street crossing.

I then headed for the I&O crossing. The horn sounds got louder and soon an eastbound (south) IORY gondola train crossed over the CSX diamonds behind locomotives 4084 and 5678. The IORY train was followed by a CSX westbound freight.

I then went to the Gerald Grain Center to photograph a Rail King track mule sitting under the grain loader. After that photo, I headed back toward Deshler.

Before leaving however, I found another Rail King track mule. This one was off the tracks sitting on its rubber tires near the plant office building.

I then headed east on Ohio Route 18, stopping only to shoot a CSX westbound through the windshield.

Arriving back in Deshler, I rejoined the other ARRC members at Crossroads Park. I found time to finish lunch, see more trains, take more photos and have a great time.

Craig Sanders and I went to the north side of Deshler to catch a Toledo bound train. Then we headed south to locate the signal bridge on the Toledo line at MP 163. After that, we returned to Crossroads Park.

The gang was heading for supper at Bob Evans in Fremont, so I left east on Route 18. It had been a fun afternoon at Crossroads Park in Deshler with the Akron RR Club members.

Article and Photographs by Richard Jacobs

 

CSX eastbound (south) auto rack train crosses over the Nickel Plate at RO/XN tower in Leipsic.

CSX eastbound (south) auto rack train crosses over the Nickel Plate at RO/XN tower in Leipsic.

Eastbound NS freight with UP power at Leipsic.

Eastbound NS freight with UP power at Leipsic.

B&O CPL's still exist at the NKP crossing of the Toledo line at RO tower.

B&O CPL’s still exist at the NKP crossing of the Toledo line at RO tower.

Looking down the I&O at West Leipsic as a NS hopper train passes eastbound.

Looking down the I&O at West Leipsic as a NS hopper train passes eastbound.

NS westbound oil empties train crosses over the CSX Toledo line at XN tower in Leipsic.

NS westbound oil empties train crosses over the CSX Toledo line at XN tower in Leipsic.

CSX westbound freight led by #9 crosses Keyser Avenue from the Toledo Sub connection.

CSX westbound freight led by #9 crosses Keyser Avenue from the Toledo Sub connection.

CSX No. 9 leads a westbound freight by the Gerald Grain Center plant in Hamler.

CSX No. 9 leads a westbound freight by the Gerald Grain Center plant in Hamler.

Indiana & Ohio freight behind locomotives 4084 and 5678 crosses the CSX diamonds in Hamler.

Indiana & Ohio freight behind locomotives 4084 and 5678 crosses the CSX diamonds in Hamler.

CSX westbound freight crosses the IORY diamond in Hamler.

CSX westbound freight crosses the IORY diamond in Hamler.

Rail King track mule at Gerald Grain Center in Hamler.

Rail King track mule at Gerald Grain Center in Hamler.

Grab shot! CSX 98 + two lead a westbound freight seen while I was driving from Hamler.

Grab shot! CSX 98 + two lead a westbound freight seen while I was driving from Hamler.

 


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